The Jakarta Post
An eternal flame in Mrapen, Grobogan regency in Central Java, will be united with the Asian Games flame brought from India before being taken to the provincial capital Semarang on Wednesday in a torch relay ahead of the Games.
Both eternal flames will meet on Wednesday evening in Prambanan Temple in Central Java.
Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani will give the torch to Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo, who will relay it to retired tennis player Yustedjo Tarik. Yustedjo is carrying the torch to Semarang from Grobogan.
“The 18th Asian Games torch will be relayed to 53 regencies and municipalities in 18 provinces. Not all provinces will be visited by the torch, that’s true, but this is our effort to promote the event,” Puan said.
The Mrapen eternal flame lit the torch for the First Ganefo Games in 1963 and the torch for the National Sports Competition (PON) XIV in 1996. The Mrapen eternal flame is one of the tourist attractions in the province. It is also a source of flames for religious rituals, especially for Buddhists.
The last time Indonesia hosted the Asian Games was in 1962. Indonesia clinched 11 gold medals at that time. This year, Indonesia is hoping for 20 gold medals.
Yustedjo will relay the torch to retired tennis player Yayuk Basuki in Semarang.
Lombok getting ready
Officials in Mataram, West Nusa Tenggara, are getting ready to receive the torch from July 25 to 26.
Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), the operator of The Mandalika Special Tourism Zone in Central Lombok, has prepared events at Kuta Beach in Mandalika.
“This to show our support for making Asian Games a success,” ITDC general affairs head I Gusti Lanang Bratasuta said on Wednesday.
The ITDC, he said, would turn the torch relay into an opportunity for Mandalika to promote tourism. It has prepared a craft bazaar and several cultural events. (evi)